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About the Story
Can you escape your chains before the killer strikes again?
7th Place overall; Winner, Rising Star Award - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This was one of the comp games I was most looking forward to playing. I love a good straightforward escape room--and LUNIUM is a good straightforward escape room, with some truly lovely illustrations of the various set pieces.
While in the midst of investigating a series of bizarre murders, you find yourself chained up in a strange room, apparently by the killer themself. Puzzles progress by manually typing in the keywords of various objects--perhaps to ensure that players inspected them thoroughly? I had a few moments of trouble with guessing the noun for this mechanic, notably (Spoiler - click to show)that to light a match, you don't light a "MATCH" but a "PRESTIGE". That took me a while to realize, even having inspected the matchbox--I thought that you simply couldn't burn the matches. But thankfully there is a robust and forgiving hint system, so I was never really "stuck" on a puzzle. Generally the logic and flow through the room was clear, and I enjoyed the puzzles and how they tied into the room's theme.
The one place where I did want to manually input the name was the (Spoiler - click to show)final puzzle: naming the culprit. The input only being available on the confirmation page made the twist more obvious--but maybe that was the intention?
I had my suspicions about the culprit early on, but was pleasantly surprised by the (Spoiler - click to show)multiple possible decisions regarding what to do about it. That was a nice touch.
I really enjoyed this escape room game.
While you’d think there’d be a big overlap in escape rooms and interactive fiction, the two have very distinct flavors (at least ifcomp-style interactive fiction). I wonder if its because escape rooms often rely heavily on visual clues? (like this game does).
In any case, this has the hallmarks of an escape room: a contrived scenario with codes, color schemes, passwords, chains, etc. where its clear the story (while strong) is in service to the puzzles.
You wake up, chained and forgetful, in a room filled with locks, drawers, safes, keys, etc.
Most of gameplay revolves around trying to figure out correct passphrases to type into boxes. The passphrases represent you having ‘done the work’ of solving.
I knew once I started this that it was pretty hard, probably too hard for me. I also knew that for this type of game, getting hints would probably significantly diminish the experience. So I persevered for quite a while, and finally solved it without hints! That was very satisfying.
There do seem to be several red herrings.
I do think this game defies a lot of conventions of IFComp games, with its fairly contrived story and emphasis on visual-only clues and passwords. However, it executed this at a high level of skill, and I really liked it.
This is a very well-crafted game—impressive that it’s the author’s first time working with Twine! The art is moodily evocative, and I enjoyed the way the puzzles were built around it. The hint system and its tiered approach, with the first level letting you know when you didn’t need to worry about a specific object/puzzle yet, was a nice touch. (Spoiler - click to show)And I loved the ending, the way it clicked for me what the answer to “whodunnit” was—and the extra “whydunnit” twist/reveal, which explained so much in retrospect. The answer to the mystery of “who locked me in here with all these weird puzzles??” being “I did, and for good reason!” was very clever.
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